Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Blacklands of Kiivar ... A photo essay.

Last weekend was something of a trial run for a several items of equipment: artillery, anti-tanks guns and AFVs of various kinds. The premise was a powerful attempt by Raesharn forces to seize, take or carry a strategic crossroads, in the Blacklands near Kavi (see map - not far northeast of the headwaters of the Firth of Kiivar). The action unfolds in the following series of pictures.

A general view of the Raesharn forces on their startline. They comprised two infantry companies, a tank company (4 tanks) plus 3 other AFVs, a battery of 3 heavy and 3 field artillery pieces, an anti tank gun or two, a reconnaissance section of an armoured car and motorcycle combination, and a section of cavalry.
General view of the battlefield. The bridges were built for a smaller scale (that being used here something like 1:35 or thereabouts), and were a bit narrow for this. They were held to be negotiable by wheeled vehicles, but not tanks or assault guns. The stream itself was crossable, but took time, and vehicles risked bogging down. The stretched lengths of pot scourer served as barbed wire entanglements.
Another general view. The Kiivar defenders had just two AFVs but the infantry company was supported by a 2-gun mixed battery of artillery plus a couple of infantry guns, 4 'medium' antitank guns, a single twin-barrelled AA cannon, and a section of assault engineers, who garrisoned the Crossroads Tavern. Oh, yes: both sides could call upon air strikes...

The formidable array of Raesharn artillery.

Fortunately they were lacking in targets on account of the absence of a forward observer. But they could see the tavern, which was bad luck for the engineers therein. Of eleven men, four survivors evacuated the place after the enemy guns found the range...

Raesharn Cavalry, ready to sweep around the Kiivar southern flank...

The Raesharn tank company, together with its riders, ready to go.
Kiivar left - garnished heavily with anti-tank guns...

Kiivar centre. The assault engineers would soon have to vacate the Tavern...

Kiivar right. Nr 1 Platoon in the woods, supported by an infantry gun overlooking the river bridge.
Raesharn tanks advance on the northern flank...

General view from behind Kiivar lines...

First strike! Raesharn aircraft takes out Kiivar's only tank. Their remaining AFV is an assault gun, off to the left. The AA cannon fails hit the aircraft as it flashes by...

Retaliation! A Kiivar fighter-bomber shoots up the Raesharn artillery. Although Raesharn loses half a dozen gunners, the guns themselves remain intact. This proved something of a distraction for the Raesharn commander, who detailed several infantrymen to man the guns. A rule emendment might have to be looked at here...

Second Raesharn strike destroys the entire Kiivar artillery battery, leaving just two gunners surviving. Bad news for Kiivar...

The armoured thrust reaches the stream and begins to cross. This proved a considerable obstacle that slowed the Raesharn advance. The lead tank bogged down when almost across. Though slowed, the Raesharn were not altogether stopped, however.

In the centre, the assault gun heads for the hill. An antitank rifleman lies in wait...

An assault gun tentatively probes the Kiivar right flank. Where are the cavalry?

Kiivar's second airstrike does immense damage: two tanks knocked out, and 6 infantry bite the dust. Methinks wiping out 2 tanks was a bit punitive. Another rule change in order there, possibly. Mind you, exactly the same odds [taking 1 for 6 and 2 for 5 etc] would have left both tanks intact, and just two infantry casualties...

The Raesharn AFV mounts the hill to take a hull-down position, and comes under the concentric fire of two AT guns and an AT rifle. In the ensuing exchange of fire, the vehicle was hit twice, but managed to take out half the crew of an AT gun before it succumbed. The AT gun on the extreme left of the picture - still in its factory finish (i.e. unpainted) - did the deed.

The AT rifleman takes care of the Raesharn AFV on the right, taking two shots to do so.

General view. Things aren't looking so good for the Raesharn offensive. They have lost 4 AFVs out of 7, and the armoured can was knocked out by an AT gun whilst standing near the bridge.

Raesharn forces push across the stream on the Kiivar northern flank. Kiivar infantry wait anxiously in and behind the woods...

Here come the cavalry...

There go the cavalry... Charging into the woods was always going to be a chancy proposition...

Touched up view of the north flank action. Raesharn tank comes under heavy fire but the Kiivar assault gun delivers the coup-de-flamade...

Another touched up pic of the final moments before the Raesharn commander calls of the action. Raesharn losses amounted to 5 AFVs, and armoured car, 7 cavalrymen, and perhaps a dozen other personnel. Kiivar lost a tank, two artillery pieces, and about 15 men (assault emgineers and gun crew). A fairly comfortable defensive victory, but it was against an inexperienced opponent. The next action - a Kiivar counter-offensive - might tell a different story...

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